Ban: Union seeks one-month moratorium for car importers

Ban: Union seeks one-month moratorium for car importers
Transport Minister, Rotim Amaechi

 The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government to grant one-month moratorium to car importers before the implementation of the ban on car imports through land borders.

The President of the union, Emmanuel Nted, while speaking in Lagos on Thursday, said many importers had their vehicles trapped in neighbouring countries due to the policy.

Although he commended the government for the ban, saying it would increase cargo traffic at the seaports and create jobs, he said the one-month grace period was necessary to avert losses that could wreck the business of affected importers.

He added, “Out of 100 cars coming in through the neighbouring country, 50 are cleared while the remaining 50 come in through the back door. And the government is losing revenue; the workers and companies at the ports are also losing revenue. If all these vehicles are allowed to be cleared through the seaports, by paying statutory charges, the workers will have work to do.”

According to him, the inability of the importers to clear the vehicles through the land border will make them lose their business capital.

 “The union would like to appeal to the Federal Government to give a month grace to importers whose vehicles are trapped because of the policy to clear their vehicles. After one month, the government should commence full implementation of the policy,” Nted said.

He said, “This will enable those whose cars are trapped in the border to clear their cars. We are in recession and nobody wants to lose money. After one month, the government can enforce the ban so that the cars will come in through the ports.

“In the same vein, we appeal to the Federal Government to have a stakeholders’ meeting with assembly plants and indigenous auto-manufacturing companies to identify and address the challenges of manufacturing of cars.”

The MWUN president expressed disappointment over abandoned access roads to the ports, which had caused many fatal accidents and had not been rehabilitated despite the promises by the government.

He said, “As we speak, the roads have become a death trap to every road user despite strong assurances from the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority that its contract had been awarded. There is nothing on the ground to show that the contract has been awarded.”

He noted the difficulty importers and manufacturers encountered in accessing forex had had a ripple effect on jobs because some factories had shut down while some shipping companies had relocated to neighbouring countries.

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